Watches: Hermès Arceau Millefiori Collection

By Thierry Ané on April 14, 2014

La Montre Hermès produces watches that are faithful to the values of this renowned Maison: refinement and elegance, exclusivity and discretion. This true luxury brand avoids publicity stunts and lets the level of craftsmanship of its tasteful timepieces speak for itself.

But be careful, it does not mean that everything looks “beige” at Hermès! The brand surely knows how to create off the beaten track talking pieces whose beauty will take your breath away. Like many brands, they resort to forgotten decorative techniques only mastered by a handful of extremely skilled artisans, but they always manage to breathe the Hermès touch into it.

For instance, a quick glance at the Arceau Marqueterie de Paille Herringbone Motif and Arceau Marqueterie de Paille Square Motif unveiled in 2012 is largely enough to immediately recognise the Hermès universe. The motifs they created with the straw marquetry as well as the colour palette immediately remind us of beautiful scarves and ties produced by the great Maison. The Arceau H Cube introduced last year proved that the brand feels as comfortable with ladies artistic models as it does with men’s watches.

This year, the brand uses the savoir-faire of the Cristalleries Royales de Saint-Louis (one of its subsidiaries) to create a series of unusual timepieces using a glassmaking technique more usually associated with the creation of paperweights. And once again, they brilliantly prove how Hermès this new “metier d’art” can be.

Known as “Millefiori” motif (or “thousand flowers” in Italian), this decorative technique was developed by the Cristalleries Royales de Saint-Louis in the nineteenth century to produce magnificent and extremely colourful paperweights.

Basically, it all starts with thin crystal canes coloured by enamel that resemble barley sugar candy canes. They are carefully put together to form rich and lively flower motifs that will only be revealed once the ensemble is cut into sections. The exact same technique was used by Hermès to create the dial of two Millefiori wristwatches, a men’s model as well as a ladies’ version, and two beautiful pocket watches with a grey or red millefiori enamel cover.

The thin coloured crystal canes on the left and a finished dial on the right

Measuring 41 mm in diameter, the men’s model features an extremely vivid blue dial illuminated by a myriad of white stars and multi-coloured flowers. It is fitted with a matt indigo blue Hermès alligator strap. The ladies’ version is also very appealing with its raspberry colours that extend from the dial to the strap. Both models are equipped with in-house Vaucher Manufacture movements (respectively the H1837 and H1912 calibres).

assembling the canes, merging them with transparent crystal, cutting a section, and the final result

The brand also released two half-hunter pocket watches with a front cover decorated using the same Millefiori technique: one with a shaded grey motif and a matt graphite Hermès strap and another with a red motif complemented by a red enamel dial and strap.

All models look stunning and prove one more time the immense know-how and taste of this brand.